Science Challenge

Week of June 1, 2020

The goal of the NEWESD 101 Science Kit Cooperative is to send out weekly science challenges to our members. The challenges will sometimes be tailored to a grade level, or a more general challenge which can be adjusted or added to based on the grade level you are teaching.

If you are needing any science materials to show demos to your students during your virtual meetings, please let me know and we will do our best to accommodate any requests.

Thank you,


Grades K-2: Rain Cloud Experiment

  • Mason jar or clear cup
  • Food coloring
  • Shaving cream (foam not gel)
  • Pipettes (or droppers of some kind)
  • Water


  1. Mix blue food coloring with a small amount of water.

  2. Fill wide mouth jar or clear glass nearly to the top with water.

  3. Add shaving cream on the top of the water to create a "fluffy cloud".

  4. Let the shaving cream settle for a couple of minutes.

  5. What do you think will happen when you add the "rain" to the "cloud"? Record your predictions.

  6. Slowly add food coloring "rain" to the "cloud" using the pipettes.

  7. Continue to add drops of "rain" into the cloud.

  8. Observe what happens! After a couple of minutes, you will see the "rain" coming out of the cloud into the water.

  9. Record your observations near your predictions. (Students can draw what they see, or explain with words)


  • A cloud is formed when rain droplets come together.
  • When the cloud gets too heavy and full, the rain droplets fall out of the cloud due to gravity.
  • In the Rain Cloud Experiment, the colored water acts as the rain.
  • The shaving cream acts as the cloud.
  • The clean water in the jar is the air.
  • When the color water ("rain") gets too heavy, it falls out of the shaving cream "cloud" and into the water ("air")

Grades 3-5: Mix Up an Emulsion

Oil and water won't mix for long. But here's a way you can make them stay together for a while.

Add paprika, and you suspend the oil particles inside the water. The paprika breaks down the oil particles. The result is an emulsion. It's not a solution because the oil and water will separate again before long.

Before this happens, make your emulsion into French salad dressing!

Supplies Needed:
To make the emulsion

  • A small jar
  • 1/4 c vinegar
  • 1/4 c salad oil (vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (Don't add immediately - wait for instructions)

To finish the dressing - wait until instructions to add these

  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Students should write down what they think will happen when they add all the emulsion ingredients together except the paprika.
  • Put in all the ingredients except the paprika and observe what happens. Do the oil and water mix at all? Do they always remain separate? Record your observation.
  • What do you think will happen when the paprika is added?
  • Now, add the paprika and shake thoroughly. What difference do you see between this mixture and the previous mixture that didn't have the paprika?

What happened?
The paprika keeps the oil in suspension. The oil particles become so small that they stay suspended in the vinegar for a time.

Grades 6-8: Robotic Hand Challenge


  • Tape (any kind except painter's tape)
  • Scissors
  • Cardstock paper or thin cardboard
  • Standard drinking straws
  • Larger diameter straw (if you can find it. If not, you can use the standard size for that part, as well).
  • Yarn or twine


  1. Draw your robotic hand on the cardstock or cardboard. You can trace your hand or free draw a hand.
  2. Cut the hand out (cutting it a little bigger than the actual tracing).
  3. Mark your finger joints on the cutout. Draw straight or curved lines across it.
  4. Fold the fingers at the joint lines.
  5. Cut smaller straws to size (leave a little gap between the lines to facilitate in threading the yarn).
  6. Tape straw pieces to the hand.
  7. Thread yarn through the straw pieces. Each finger will have a length of yarn on its own.
  8. Thread all five pieces of yarn through the bigger straw (this is where you don't have a bigger straw, you can use the same size as you used for the joints).The threading part can be difficult depending on the type of string/yarn you used. You can use a big needle for the yarn, or some other tool you've come up with to push it through.
  9. Once the string is threaded, can you move the fingers? Can you make the hand open/close?


See what you can pick up or do with the robotic hand. Keep a notebook of what you are attempting to do and if it succeeded. Could you do a thumbs up? Hold an empty soda can? We'd love to see what the hands look like that you've come up with so feel free to email a picture to us at